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Our embarrassing incidents while playing in orchestras
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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 18, 2011 - 4:21 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

Most of us have had at least one bad, negative or embarrassing incident while playing in an orchestra. Here are three of mine. Please share yours.

I like to spin my instrument around and have a great technique for it so that I can't possibly drop it. My stand partner asked me, during a longer rest, if I could spin it in the other direction. Without hesitation I spun it in the opposite direction but my thumb ended up on the outside of the violin and it took off flying through the air, spinning wildly and rolled on the stage floor. Everyone turned around as I picked up my fiddle and I am sure that my face was pure red. The conductor said, "Oyyyyy",  and I proceeded to tune while everyone listened. I acted as though nothing had happened and said, "I'm ready". Miraculously, the violin was almost in perfect condition except for a broken peg tip and fine tuner on the E.

We were playing a piece that required us to put on the mute within a 2 second break. I was one of those people, still am kind of, who always had to play everything on the page. I'll learn the hardest, what others call unplayable, passages in contemporary music even though no one will ever hear it with all the noise going on and the conductor could even say, don't worry about the notes here because that passage was intended as an effect. I had normally gotten the mute on without missing any music but was too careless and knocked over the bridge. It was so loud that everyone turned around and stopped playing.

I was the concert master during a tour with Robert Wells, and to top it off we were doing a live recording. Robert made some changes including taking out a repeat and was very clear about it. That repeat was an accented FFF note way up high on the E string. I of course prepared myself for the greatest accent of all times and nailed the note but unfortunately, all by myself since the next part began with some rests. After we played that piece Robert asked the audience if they would mind us repeating the piece since it was a live recording. He added "you all understand why".

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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paula
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February 18, 2011 - 4:48 pm
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Well, my worst moment was a few years back when the orchestra was doing a recording. I was very hungry and suddenly my stomach made a loud growling noise. It was actually during a last soft note, and so loud that we had to redo it! Embarassed

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thesteelydane
Copenhagen, Denmark
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February 18, 2011 - 5:05 pm
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Ok, many years ago I had a gig as section leader of a musical orchestra. The musical was about the life of Danish composer Jakob Gade and in one of the scenes, the lead character had to do an audition on violin. Of course the actor couldn't actually play violin, so I had to play this incredibly difficult Wienawski caprice, while he faked it on stage. I had a spot mic on me, and it went well every night, except the one night my e string popped right at the most dramatic, virtuoso moment. My immediate response was a loud exclamation of "f__k!" – that of course went straight into the mic. I'll never forget the sound of 2000 or so old ladies gasping in unison!

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
February 19, 2011 - 9:07 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

LOL, that is one of the funniest things that I ever heard. Did you perform the rest of the solo on the A string?

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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chocostudent
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August 1, 2011 - 12:56 am
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My most embarassing moment had to be when I was performing Ave Maria on the clarinet as a solo with the piano playing along and in the middle of the piece, I was playing a really high note, so I ran out of air, and I panicked so I let out a loud squeak and I stopped playing and had to start again.

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pky
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August 1, 2011 - 2:06 am
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I only played once on stage in a Chinese orchestra for a fund raising event. I played a Chinese zither, which is a big instrument -- 6'L X 8"H X 18"W inches or a little bigger. Two fellow students set it up for me on the stage on a stand where it supposed to be. I did not have to play the first part, so I sat there enjoying looking at the audience, the conductor, etc etc. Then I decided that I probably should check my gear, i.e., my nails and my instrument. I looked down at my instrument (my teacher's, in fact), it looked unfamiliar to me, in fact, strange! Then I realized that the instrument was actually flipped flopped. I looked up, looked at the conductor, looked at my instrument again, I didn't know what to do other than picking it up and turned it around. The conductor's sensed the movement, turned around looked at me, and his eyes widened. My head was burning hot and I was all sweaty. I played the second part like nothing had happened. Interestingly, no body, at least not in my memory, asked me what had happened.  

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Robyn.fnq
Queensland, Australia
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August 1, 2011 - 11:51 pm
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This is a great discussion, such funny stories.  Sorry I can't add to it, I've only just begun learning.  But ...

One day my partner said 'your violin playing sounds ok' ... and I thought I must really be improving if he'd noticed it .  Until I realised he'd turned off his hearing aids ... 

frown

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
August 2, 2011 - 10:34 am
Member Since: September 26, 2010
Forum Posts: 11717

LOL - That is hilarious.roflroflrofl

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Mustang
Minnesnowda
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September 18, 2011 - 12:13 pm
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Well, I just started playing in my high school orchestra, so I haven't done anything embarrassing yet. xD

I did do something funny though. When I got my music, I was shocked at how much music there was to learn. So I told my orchestra teacher that I didn't think I could Handel it.

He thought my pun was pretty funny. rofl

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SaraO
Michigan
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September 18, 2011 - 2:02 pm
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har har...tongue

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David Burns
Winfield, Missouri
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September 18, 2011 - 2:29 pm
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Beethoven couldn't find his piano teacher because he was Haydn!

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Paul
Indiana
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I will never play in an orchestra but I practice in some unequal places. I was practicing under a shelter (to get out of a drizzling rain) in a state park. Someone showed up to do some paper work. I warned him I was a beginner. When I was done I thanked him for not throwing rocks. He said it was entertaining. After I left I wondered if the entertainment was comedic or musical. It really doesn't matter, he was entertained.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 19, 2011 - 7:13 am
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LOL, I love it.

You're pretty tough for just playing regardless of the fact that someone showed up and that it was pouring rain outside the shelter. Doesn't it feel great to practice outside?

I'm sure the guy really was entertained. In any case, less bored. dancing Wonder if he got much paper work done.

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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Jauniba
Central Florida
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September 19, 2011 - 9:26 am
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In college, I walked in late on a rehearsal with the famous choral conductor Robert Shaw. As I recall I bumbled through the cello section to get to my seat with the violas. They weren't playing when I started walking, but then they started up, so I was dodging bows. I mean, aside from levitation, there was no way I could get to my seat without interrupting a little bit. I was hot and uncomfortable having run across campus to get there as fast as I could. Bear in mind, I had told our regular conductor that I would be about half an hour late. And I wasn't the only one coming in late...there were probably two other girls who had been to the same meeting as me. But, since I was second chair I was right under the conductor's nose, and he decided to pick on me. He stopped everything, paused, looked at me and goes, "Oboe, give the girl an A" gave me what I felt was a smug look, and made me tune up in front of everyone. I actually started to cry a little bit. Ridiculous in hindsight, but there were like 100 members of the chorus in addition to the orchestra and I was so humiliated.

I would have bought him a present to excuse my lateness, but I was Baroque.

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Oliver
NC
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September 19, 2011 - 1:05 pm
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Playing while standing in a small group, the person in front of me decided to pull a bow stroke of olympic proportions and her elbow knocked my music off the stand.

dazed

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 19, 2011 - 6:51 pm
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Jauniba said:

I would have bought him a present to excuse my lateness, but I was Baroque.

LOL, never heard that one before.

Anyway, I think a lot of conductors feel the people who actually will be affected by their attitude and humiliate them on purpose. Sorry you had to go through that. I would have said, "Thank you Maestro" with a big smile.

exactly

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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GennaLea
Western New York
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September 19, 2011 - 7:36 pm
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Oh my goodness! These stories sure have made my day better! rofl

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Paul
Indiana
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September 19, 2011 - 8:23 pm
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I had never played in front of anyone except my wife and daughter. I just thought, I could leave and miss out on a good chance to practice or I could stay and play, I'm never going to see this guy again so why not.

I love playing outside. There is just something about playing in the middle of nature with the fiddle it just seems to fit.

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Jauniba
Central Florida
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September 19, 2011 - 10:25 pm
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I'll never forget how my stand partner leaned over to me (he was also my teacher and he was awwwwesome) and whispered, "He's an a$$. Calm down."

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DIY
Sweden
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September 19, 2011 - 11:21 pm
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Jauniba said:

He stopped everything, paused, looked at me and goes, "Oboe, give the girl an A" gave me what I felt was a smug look, and made me tune up in front of everyone. I actually started to cry a little bit. Ridiculous in hindsight, but there were like 100 members of the chorus in addition to the orchestra and I was so humiliated.

Omg, that is terrible. Just reading about it makes me wanna hide under a blanket. 

"Why don't you dance to the music I hear inside my head?"
(Kent – Music Non Stop)

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